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Boost your folic acid
Folic acid (folate) is naturally present in leafy vegetables, fruits and berries, beans and wholegrain products – but keep taking the supplements too.
Your baby is just over the size of an orange pip! The central nervous system, brain and spine are already developing and growing. Four ‘buds’ start to form – they will become the arms and legs. Tiny indentations in the head will develop into your baby’s facial features – the eyes, ears, mouth and nostrils.
You may notice some light bleeding or ‘spotting’. This can be caused by the fertilised egg as it settles in the wall of your womb and usually happens around the same time that your period would be due. It’s not uncommon. As many as one in four women may experience some amount of spotting.
However, if you notice any bleeding, at any stage in your pregnancy, it’s important to get it checked out by your doctor or midwife.
Your breasts may feel tender, or even painful, rather like the breast tenderness you might get just before your period. This is due to the pregnancy hormones getting your breasts ready to produce milk for your baby. It usually eases off by the end of the first trimester.
For the first few months, your baby is growing very fast and is using up a lot of your energy. If you feel very tired, it's not surprising, but it can be hard to deal with, especially as you probably don't want to share the news just yet. Rest as much as you can – this stage won't last forever.
Your hormones are playing havoc, and it’s understandable if you feel weepy. It’s natural to have mixed feelings about your pregnancy. If these feelings don’t go away, tell your doctor or midwife how you feel.
If you're not already taking them, start taking folic acid supplements until at least week 12. This helps prevent conditions such as spina bifida, which affects your baby’s nervous system.
If you smoke, stop. If you haven't already, you should stop drinking alcohol. If you use street or recreational drugs, stop or ask your doctor for advice on stopping safely if you think you might be addicted. Withdrawal symptoms can affect your baby. Visit our pages on alcohol, drugs and smoking in pregnancy for more information.
As soon as you think you are pregnant, make an appointment to see your doctor or midwife. They will be able to confirm the pregnancy, give you advice and organise for you to be booked in for antenatal care.
Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise and often have no symptoms, and can affect your baby's health in pregnancy or birth. If you think you or your partner have an STI you should go for a check-up as soon as you can. Ask your GP about your nearest genitor-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic.
- Department of Health (2009) The Pregnancy Book, NHS, London, 286153
- Deutchman M, Tubay AT, Turok D (2009) First trimester bleeding in ‘American Family Physician’, 79(11):985-94
- Kuczkowski KM (2007) The effects of drug abuse on pregnancy, ‘Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology’, (6)578-85
- NICE (2010) Antenatal care: routine care for the healthy pregnant woman CG62, London, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence
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